As Ferrari staged a nearly 3 hour 'crisis meeting' at Maranello, Niki Lauda leapt to the defence of Michael Schumacher.

As Ferrari staged a nearly 3 hour 'crisis meeting' at Maranello, Niki Lauda leapt to the defence of Michael Schumacher.

It is believed that Schumacher, the Italian team's former seven time world champion and advisor, was not invited to the meeting chaired by president Luca di Montezemolo.

The meeting followed Ferrari's worst start to a world championship since 1992, where after the Malaysian grand prix at the weekend the Italian and German press chided Schumacher's role in the strategy blunders.

Even French newspapers joined in, one suggesting that Sepang proved that 'the Schumacher myth is over'.

"There should be more respect for a seven time world champion," his manager Willi Weber told Sport Bild.

Former triple world champion Lauda, although scolding the team for making a wrong call last Sunday, now defends Schumacher.

He deflects the criticism to Ferrari, for leaving Schumacher's actual role too ambiguous.

"If I was Ferrari I would have Michael on the pitwall," said the Austrian, "and not half-way here and half-way there.

"He would be making decisions a hundred times better than some engineer. What would I say to Ferrari? 'Use his experience! Put him up there!' There is no-one better," Lauda added.

It is rumoured that Stefano Domenicali does not have plans to summon Schumacher to the third round of the championship in China next weekend.

 

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